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Liz Dowsett is a fourth year Electrical Apprentice with BHP and recently won the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA) WA Chapter Industrial Electrical Apprentice of the year award.

Liz originally graduated from university with an engineering degree, but struggled to get a foothold in the industry during the aftermath of the global financial crisis - so she thought she’d give an apprenticeship a try, and hasn’t looked back since.

Liz said the heart of her apprenticeship program is people and businesses investing in the future together, something that she doesn’t think is done enough.

“I think it’s awesome that companies like BHP are willing and able to make the investment in our communities by sponsoring apprentices,” Liz said.

Here’s what Liz had to say about her apprenticeship with BHP so far:

Why did you decide to take on an apprenticeship?

I chose to do an apprenticeship because I wanted a long term career and I saw doing a trade as complementary to my university studies, and ultimately a pathway where I felt I could make a difference.

The practical skills taught during an apprenticeship are a great foundation to learn and identify how the sites and equipment “really” work.

What work do you do?

My apprenticeship with BHP has been fantastic in giving me exposure to a number of maintenance teams across its Iron Ore business. This has included working in the fixed plant team, screening and processing the iron ore, as well as time with the non-process infrastructure team with BHP’s own power distribution and generation network where I look after critical electrical equipment, making sure its running effectively and maintained safely.

What do you enjoy most about your apprenticeship?

The most enjoyable part of doing an apprenticeship is learning something new every day. In an economy where more and more people make a living by working with intangible things such as information and finance, I have been surprised at how much satisfaction I get from being able to see the work I’ve done and knowing that I helped to replace that motor, or installed a pole top transformer or made electrical supply to a building safe. I’m proud of the work I’ve done, and love working on the job with the team.

What’s your message to other people thinking about taking on an apprenticeship?

I cannot recommend it highly enough! During my apprenticeship, I have discovered amazing people and new career opportunities that I, like I suspect many other people have not heard of, let alone considered before. 

On the flip side, if you run a business and are thinking about taking on an apprentice, I’d encourage you to reach out to a training organisation.

For more information, click here (PDF 5.88MB)

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